So here it is. My ‘when’ moment. Standing in a doctors’ surgery watching my 4-year old son Jack get hooked up to an ECG machine to assess his irregular heartbeat. It may not seem like much, but in that moment of vulnerability and fear I got the kick I needed to get on with things. Let me explain.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Chamber Women’s Conference in Queenstown recently. Along with 230 other woman I spent the day in fits of laughter, and floods of tears listening to 8 incredible women share their story. I came away in awe of each of their strength, courage, humility and determination. Since then, I have been wondering how to convert the ‘lightbulb moments’ I’d had that day into actions to brighten my life, and ensure they’re not lost amongst the daily routine and madness back home. What was I going to do differently tomorrow?
Leaving the Conference with 5 pages of key messages, notes and ideas, you’ll understand why I struggled to relax and enjoy the 1-hour massage I had booked immediately after the Conference. Where the hell did I start? My mind was buzzing. I am a big believer that we can do anything, but not everything. So, in an effort to make sense of it all and identify what was really relevant and important to me I started making a list. There were some quick wins in self-care like eating well and scheduling time for me (monthly massage here I come!), and some bigger more challenging questions and issues to tackle. I knew I had to keep myself accountable, so I popped a quick post on my business FB page saying I would be sharing some snippets of what I had heard and what I would be doing as a result. Whether or not anyone actually read the post, or cared, in my mind I now had to stay true to my word.
As my list grew so did my frustration. I’m a perfectionist, so not being able to come up with the perfectly formed plan of what to do and how to do it was doing me in. I stopped and reached for the goodie bag we had been given at the Conference. A fabulous mix of treats – hand lotions, pens, discount vouchers, stress balls, and then a bright yellow envelope. I opened and started reading – a letter from one of the speakers, Di Foster. [Cue lump in throat]. I made it to the bottom of the letter and sat her very symbolic and meaningful little gift on the table in front of me. Then I saw something else from Di – a postcard, which I turned over to see a handwritten message: “You are enough”. Well that was it – the tears were flowing again.
Having been completely lost as to where to start with everything I had heard that day, suddenly it was abundantly clear that those 3 simple words, and truly believing them, is my absolute starting point. If I don’t believe that I am enough, and invest I’m myself then how can I possibly be the wife, mother and business owner that I want to be? And I know this will ring true for lots of people. So many of us are living in a state of self-doubt and self-criticism. In fear of what other people think or of stuffing things up. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and dwelling on our failures rather than focusing on the positives and what we bring to the world. Well, I am over it. It’s time to focus on what we can control – our own minds and our own actions. Do I truly believe I am enough? Hell no. But I am working on it, and for now, that is enough.
Still sitting in my hotel room, there was one other thing that kept sticking out in my mind, above everything else. It came when Barbara Kendall, Olympic Champion and one of the most humble people I have ever met, took us through her journey into windsurfing and challenged us to let go and laugh, to keep it real, to believe there are no limits, to follow your dreams, and to keep it simple. To find that one thing you love to do and that you’re good at, and go for it. I was listening to her speaking, nodding my head, but simultaneously wondering what is MY one thing? What is my passion? What am I good at? What’s on my ‘one day’ list or my ‘if I could do anything in the world I would…’ list? And as if she had read my mind, Barbara finished with a poem about seizing the day. The exact contents of the poem escape me now, but it went something along the lines of back yourself, don’t wait for tomorrow…
“That job, go for it.
That Song, sing it.
That Book, Write it”
Ummm [CLICK] – the light flickered on. I quite like writing… I do a lot of it for work (CV’s, Business Plans, Board Reports etc) but for whatever reason I’ve never actually stopped to consider that maybe I’m OK at it. Maybe this is what I do well? Hold on a minute, was I actually starting to join the dots here between something I love to do and something I might be good at? Is writing my true passion? I have always joked that I will write a book one day. One Day. (Maybe when the children have left home as last time I checked there are still only 24 hours in the day) ?. Jokes aside, I saw my pen head for the top of my list and scribble the words: “Just Write”.
The next morning, I woke to the most gorgeous sunrise over Lake Wakatipu. Ok that’s a lie, I slept in until 8.45am – yay for being away for the kids for a night! But, pulling the curtains back and looking out at the sun sparkling on the water, knowing I only had a few hours of quiet reflection time left, I thought about Di Foster and something else she had said. This time it was a question: If not now, when? If I’m not living my best life now, when will I? What is it going to take? When am I going to start following my dreams?
Now, I do need to add a big fat disclaimer at this point. I am not complaining. I have a fantastic life, I am extremely lucky and exponentially grateful for what I have – my health, an incredibly supportive husband, 3 gorgeous children, the opportunity to run my own business, I could go on all day. But, is this my BEST life? Am I living it to MY fullest potential? Am I really following my DREAMS?
Dance back around to what Barbara Kendall said, follow your heart. To those two wee words “Just Write” that had wriggled their way to the top of my list. Add a flight back home to Christchurch and my excitment at seeing all of my boys again. Routine struck, things got busy but still I held onto those ideas and dreams, determined not to let them fade into glimmers in the distance.
Fast forward to Friday morning, exactly one week after the Conference and BOOM, there I was, shaking like a leaf, waiting for the Doctor to read the ECG report and tell me everything was going to be OK, that Jack will be OK. That small moment brought so much clarity and perspective – life is a precious gift, not to be taken for granted. Quite ironically, listening to Jack’s heartbeat had made me tune back in to my own. And Di’s question hit me again – If not now, when? What is it going to take?
So, that was it. My ‘when’ moment. And here I am now, in front of my laptop, having set aside some regular time to work on that belief that I am enough and, not yet writing a book, but giving my best me a go – following that wee inner voice that has been chasing me around all week telling me to “Just Write”.
To Di Foster and Barbara Kendall – a heartfelt thank you.
If you’d like to know more about Di Foster and her incredible story, check out this video she kindly shared with me https://vimeo.com/268494955 and follow her on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/fosterwellnessnz/
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”